Andreena Leeanne and Paul Mendez are on the shortlist for the Polari First Book Prize 2021 announced on July 28, 2021.
The Polari First Book Prize was established to celebrate new writing coming with a focus on LGBTIQ issues by writers born or based in the UK and Ireland by Paul Burton in 2011. It borrowed from the term “Polari” a term in the gay subculture in that part of the world. Previous winners of the prize include Angela Chadwick, Fiona Mozley, Saleem Haddad, Paul McVeigh, Kirsty Logan, Diriye Osman, John McCullough, Mari Hannah and James Maker. In 2019, the prize expanded to the Polaris Book Prize open to writers at any stage of their career (except debuts).
The longlist for the 2021 edition of the prize was announced at a digital event in the categories of Polari First Prize and the Polari Prize on June 24. In the First Book Prize, the judges are Amrou Al-Kadhi, Angela Chadwick, Rachel Holmes and Keith Jarrett. From the shortlist announced, two writers of African descent who were on the longlist and made the cut are;
First Book Prize
- Paul Mendez, Rainbow Milk (Dialogue Books)
- Andreena Leeanne, Charred (Team Angelica)
Author, Polari Prize founder and Chair of Judges, Paul Burston said: “This year’s shortlists are our most diverse ever, with a wide variety of writers working across different genres to explore the intersections between sexuality, gender, race, class, religion and more. These 12 remarkable books include tales of resilience and celebration, love and pride, exploring the LGBTQ+ experience with emotional honesty, humour, passion and joy.”
Andreena Leeanne said on her Facebook, “Today i am lost for words for once. All i can say is that i am filled with gratitude and happiness in abundance. #Charred has made the Polari First Book Prize shortlist and what a fantastic event it was.”
She went on to add. “Whatever happens i already am a winner as I have bravely and courageously shared my deepest truths with the world. Whilst I am on my healing journey I am inspiring others and what a gift that is☺️”
The winner will be announced at the Southbank Literary Festival in October 30, 2021.